Setup Questions and Usage - Are the UI's really used?

I’ve successfully installed OpenHABianPI. I’m trying to configure a mainly Z wave setup. After some confusion and jumping between PaperUI and HABmin, I was able to get my Z wave controller recognized and my dimmer connected.

I’m looking through all the documentation and trying to make some basic rules to get my feet wet. I’ve tried HABmin for the configuration and rules, but it seems VERY buggy and I cannot get much to work. Aside from addon installation in paper UI, I feel like I’m struggling with PaperUI and HABmin. I am a fan of good UIs. Are the OH2 UIs fully functional?

Here are my questions:

  1. Is textual configuration the most popular/robust way to setup the rules and items etc?
  2. Where do the things/items live that are auto-discovered? They are not in the openHAB-conf folder?
  3. Can someone point me to a concise guide to textual configuration for OH2.
  4. What is persistence used for? Is it required?
  5. Are there any recommended complete tutorials for OH2?
  6. What’s up with HABmin? OH documentation recommends it, the UI looks great, but is it complete? There’s very little actual documentation on use.

I did install the VSCode addon and plan to use that for textual config.

Thanks in advance.

  1. As far as I know, the best way is still to use the text based rules. The PaperUI one is still a WIP and missing a lot of features. node-RED is another WIP one that gives a gui interface to rules.

  2. They’re stored in a database under /var/lib/openhab


  4. Think more, historic data. You can then graph trends, etc. using something like Grafana (search the forums for influxdb and grafana, some good tutorials)

5 & 6 I’ll have to leave to others.

As @Darren_Poulson said, the UIs are quite helpful for a lot of things but they are not there yet to cover all aspects of the configuration. You want to build rules and sitemaps in configuration files. See the documentation here for all details regarding configuration: (your question 3)

  1. Persistence is great for a lot of things but I’d recommend to look into it later. You first need to have a working home automation before you can persist data over time and do something meaningful with it. When the time comes, you should look into the InfluxDB+Grafana Tutorial

  2. Yes. There is a Tutorials section here in the forum with many great examples to look into and learn from. A list of selected examples can be found here:

  3. @chris is the right one to respond to your observation…

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It should be “complete” as far as configuration is concerned. Some other parts (rule editors for example) have not been added to support the experimental features that are being added to ESH now. If you have more specific questions then I can try and answer…

Of course, keeping up with the changes in ESH is not necessarily easy as I maintain a couple of bindings. So finding time to add features to HABmin has been more difficult lately.

You should note though that if you use text files to configure things etc, then the UIs can not be used for configuration. This is quite a major limitation as it will mean you can’t configure your ZWave devices.

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  1. Textual config is probably still best for rules as the Rule Engine is still experimental. You can create items through the Paper UI, but I prefer to do so in text files.

  2. Darren covered this.

  3. I believe each section of the documentation covers textual configuration. If there’s something in particular that you are having trouble with maybe we can point you to something more specific.

  4. Again, as Darren mentioned, persistence can be used for creating graphs of historical data. It can also be used to restore your item states when OH starts as well as being used to query historical information for use in rules. Persistence is not required.

  5. The beginners guide does a good job of touching on the main points. OH has a lot of moving parts so you’re probably not going to find a single tutorial that is able to cover everything. The community is a wealth of knowledge as well.

  6. HABmin is just another tool you can use. Much of the information it provides is going to be available in the Paper UI as well; determining the channel name of a thing for use in textual item configuration for example. I think where HABmin really shines is for zwave device setup. I gave up on my only zwave device (thermostat), however, so I will leave this for someone else to comment on.

@ThomDietrich @Darren_Poulson @PointandClick Thanks for the responses and the support. I will go through those links and likely come back with with some questions.

@chris So are you saying it’s not backwards compatible? For example, If you textually configure a thing/item then it cannot be edited or used from HABmin or a UI? …But the reverse is true, If you auto-discover a z-wave device via the UI, then you can modify the configuration textually and use that item in other textual configurations(Rules, etc)?

I don’t know what you mean by “backwards compatible”, but…

That’s correct. If you configure the things in a text file, then they can’t be configured in the UI, and you can’t even send any configuration to the thing. This will mean that you cannot configure devices - including, for example, Z-Wave device parameters.

No - if you configure a device using text files, they you can’t configure it in the UI. If it was discovered automatically, then so long as you don’t start configuring it in the text file, you can configure it in the UI.

Basically, you have to choose how you configure your things - either text files, OR the UI. You can choose differently for each thing, items, and rules, but if you configure “something” using a text file, then it’s fixed by that file. This does mean that some things can be configured in text files, and some in the UI - although I’d probably not recommend this as it’s probably a recipe for confusion and doom.

For this reason, I personally use and recommend configuring in the UI for ZWave at least - otherwise there’s no way to configure devices.

(I hope that makes sense).

I think Chris made it clear, but the way you worded this question I wanted to add that this is for configuration only. You can add an item to your sitemap, HABPanel, etc to control it regardless of how the item is created.

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